Procogia at RStudio conference 2020

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In January, a cadre of us from ProCogia joined over 2,000 other R users in San Francisco for the 5th annual RStudio::conf. Despite being a long time R user, this was my first time attending an R specific conference. What a reminder of the enthusiastic and diverse community we have! At our sponsor booth, we met with folks from pharma, biotech, finance, government, academia, journalism and many other areas. Some had just taken their first steps with R in the workshops offered during the first half of the week, while others recalled the early days of S, the predecessor language to R. RStudio CEO J.J. Allaire kicked off the second half of the week with a keynote on open source software. The big announcement here was that RStudio Inc is now RStudio PBC (public benefit corporation), which means that the open source mission of RStudio is now written into their charter and the interest of community, customers, employees and shareholders must legally all be considered in their business decisions.


R at scale

It’s no longer news that R is fully capable of performing and scaling to industry standards. Many of the attendees we met are in the process of transitioning their organizations from proprietary software to open source solutions with R and RStudio. The enterprise suite of solutions provided by RStudio is mature, with RStudio Server Pro, RStudio Connect, and RStudio Package Manager providing a full enterprise level data science environment. At ProCogia, we have the expertise and experience in helping organizations make this transition and set up RStudio for enterprise.


Deep learning in R

Although originally designed as software for statistical analysis, R has evolved to many more applications, including deep learning. If you’re an R user new to deep learning and AI it’s possible to dive right in from the comfort of your RStudio console, with interfaces to both Keras and TensorFlow. This was a focus in the Deep Learning with Keras and TensorFlow in R workshop and Dr. Sydeaka Watson’s analysis of longitudinal baseball data using neural networks.


Education

The past few years have seen massive leaps forward in making R an accessible language to learn, largely by making it easier to teach. Coming from a non-coding background, I found R fairly dry and quite challenging to pick up as my first coding language. I wish I had an interactive tutorial like Desiree de Leon’s whimsical Teacups and giraffes to get started! Built on the learnR package, which allows educators to quickly create interactive tutorials via RMarkdown documents that are deployed as Shiny apps, this sort of creativity is exactly what we needed to engage the diverse background of today’s new R users who often do not have extensive coding or computer science backgrounds.

Accessibility is not just about prior technical knowledge. As a native English speaker, I’ve been fortunate to have a wealth of technologies in my native language available and have never had to simultaneously learn written and programming languages. So inspiring to see Riva Quiroga’s effort in leading the translation of the classic R for Data Science textbook into Spanish and expand our global community!


Other noteworthy talks:

Video recordings of all talks are now available on RStudio’s website. Here is a shortlist of other talks we found interesting:

And last but not least: so many hex stickers! Including our own ProCogia hex stickers:

Despite our best efforts, we didn’t catch them all. But rumor has it, our Director of Data Solutions Kevin will pay top dollar for an elusive reticulate sticker. And if that fails, we’ll be back next year in Orlando at RStudio::conf2021 to finish off our collection and hopefully we will see you there! In the meantime, you can reach out to us at outreach@procogia.com with any questions about how your organization can benefit from RStudio’s products.

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